Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Year In Review!

I know, I know - I really hate those "Year in Review" filler pieces, and I bet you do too. But hey - everyone else is doing it. So why not the Curvy Catholic?

Here goes - my PERSONAL top 5 news stories of 2008!

5. Curvy Catholic loses over 10% of her body weight!

That's right - and with this week's weight loss of 1.8 pounds (yay!), she's finally in sight of that elusive, apparently extremely hard to obtain, 7th 5-pound star from Weight Watchers, to add to my official Weight Watchers bookmark!

4. Curvy Catholic disses Curves, several times!

(Not really "news", per se, if you've been faithfully reading this blog!)

3. Curvy Catholic's cat, Princess, maintains control of her territory!

Yes, Princess's section of Reseda, CA is safe from marauding neighborhood cats, dogs, birds and crickets, thanks to her untiring efforts to mark every square inch of our back AND front yards. (Ants, however, seem to be immune.)

2. Curvy Catholic's house is invaded by ants!

Yeah ... ever since the torrential and FRIGID downpours of the past couple of weeks, it's been Ant City U.S.A. around here. Helpful household hint: Cinnamon does NOT get rid of ants. (Smells nice, though.)

And -

1. (drum roll, please:

Curvy Catholic buys clothes without the letter "X" in the size!

Yep, that's right! And last week I actually bought a pair of size 10 Hanes undies at Walgreens ... off the rack! And they fit! Wowserino!!!

Down side of that: at first I went nuts buying everything I could find that fit me, because it DID fit me. But you know what? There's an awful lot of UGLEE clothes out there lately! I spent most of today at the Northridge Mall, and only found ONE top I would consider wearing in public (then ditched it because the line was too freakin' long).

Sigh. So here's one of my New Year's resolutions (I'll give you some more next week) - I'm gonna at least TRY to knit at least ONE nice top for myself, sometime in 2009. ("nice" being completely a matter of my own opinion!)

Meanwhile - hope your New Year's Eve celebration is peaceful, sane and happy! And if you're one of the many people who will be alone on New Year's Eve - well, I've been there, many times. Don't despair - it could be worse, and it won't last forever. Trust me. New friends are out there, just waiting to meet you, in 2009.

(P.S. Forgot to mention another COOL 2008 story - which will impact this blog in 2009: My wonderful husband gave me a digital camera for Christmas!!! Let the award-winning photoblogging begin (as soon as I get the software loaded, nyuk nyuk!)!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Merry and Happy Happy!

Merry CHRISTMAS, that is! And/or whatever other holiday you may choose to celebrate. But for me, it's Christmas, first, last and always.

I know the late Pope John Paul II said that Christians are "an Easter people". Well, maybe that's how it should be. But I'm a Christmas person, and can't seem to overcome that. (Sorry, Papa!)

But it just seems to me that the whole point of Christmas is that God loved us so much He became one of us. And that's something to celebrate! The fact that He later died and rose again is awesome too - but then, if you accept that Jesus is God ... well, come on - what else do you think would have happened? Am I right? Or am I becoming "Heretic Gal" again? (nyuk nyuk!)

Lost 0.6 pounds last week - am proud to say my weight is now 192.6. I'm proud to say it because if I keep noshing on these See's Candies people keep handing me at the office, it's not gonna stay that way! But at least I'm keeping the Weight Watchers Online computer happy.

Oh, and I did something kinda different this morning - instead of taking the Red Line into downtown, I actually (gasp) DROVE all the way in, and parked underneath the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. It's about a mile from my office, a nice little walk (in the rain ... in my sandals ... ) which I'm going to count as my fitness for the day, since I don't really feel like going out again - even to Curves.

So Merry Christmas, computer! Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls! And Merry Christmas, all you millions of readers!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy dayz, li'l WW Online computer - I gained 1.3 pounds, so no worries about that too-quick weight loss stuff!

So how are you doing today? Hope you're finding some pleasure in the holiday season. I know it's been said many times, many ways, but Christmas is just my favorite time of the year, no holds barred. So I hope that's turning out to be the case for you too.

Did three workouts at It Figures last week and really had a good time. It's a great gym, and I'm definitely considering getting a membership there. The only reasons I'm hesitating are:

1. I'm still working off the one-year contract at Curves, which doesn't expire till April; so am not sure I'm ready to get another one-year contract.

2. Since it would require me to go there on weekday evenings, rather than during the day on weekdays, I can already picture myself making all sorts of excuses for not going.

3. In my heart of hearts, I really don't want to join another gym, so much as I just want to have the information to do the workouts whenever and whereve I can. Of course, the paradox to that is that I GOT a lot of that info from Tommi and Kathy at It Figures, so ...

4. I hate change. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Etc., etc.

Of course, apropos of #2, the truth is I'm avoiding going to Curves now anyway, so it wouldn't really be that much of a change.

Sigh. Oh well, I've decided that I'm gonna give myself a break for the rest of the month - just do whatever the heck I want to do, and, like 99% of the rest of the human race, make all sorts of major life-changing decisions on January 1st.

Oh, by the way, it's POURING down rain here in beautiful downtown Los Angeles - which would be really wonderful except it's cold, too. However, now that I have a window and can look out at the mountains, I'm looking forward to the day it clears up and I can see snow!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fitness crossroads or just boredom?

Weighed in at Weight Watchers on Saturday at 191.6, a loss of 2.6 pounds - which once again caused pain and distress to the poor Weight Watchers Online computer when I entered it. No problem, little computer; since cumulatively I've only lost 4 pounds since the beginning of October, I'm definitely NOT losing weight "too rapidly".

And I really don't have to ask my doctor for ideas about how to slow down my weight loss. I already know how to do that: CHRISTMAS!!!

Yes, it's that time of year when fat is everywhere! Kitt, one of the cantors at our church, handed out huge chocolate Santas to all the kids at St. Mary's yesterday. Strangely enough, he didn't offer any to those of us us grownups who could really benefit from a little extra energy at this time of year. (I'm sure those kids' parents really appreciated it, though, nyuk nyuk!)

Anyway, Saturday I went to "It Figures", the women-only gym in Sherman Oaks that I raved about in a previous post after a bad experience at Curves Van Nuys - even though I hadn't actually worked out there. Well, now I can say it's even better than it looked from the outside (and if you want to see what it looks like from the outside, check out their great

I got the grand tour from Tommi (the one in the videos) and was really impressed with the variety of machines, weights, and other miscellaneous fitness equipment they have available. Not only do they have all the stuff I've been thinking I'd like to work out on (like free weights, a treadmill, elliptical, exercise balls, exercise bands, etc., etc.), but they also seem to have a lot more know-how than the nice ladies at my Curves.

And I never knew how to use the exercise ball or the band before! In fact, I'm embarrassed to say that a few months ago, I actually BOUGHT one of those exercise bands - and wound up donating it to our church's rummage sale, because I never could figure out what to do with it. Now I know several different moves to do with it (check out the "Cowboy Walk"!), so I'm definitely going to get another one. (Not at a rummage sale, though - I'll splurge and pay the whole ten bucks for a new one!)

And that's not a slam at Curves-Bunker Hill - as I've said before, in this very space, I actually appreciate their more laid-back approach. Now that I have a better idea what kind of workouts I want to do, I feel more comfortable going in early in the morning and doing my own thing. In fact, I did that this morning - armed with some of the moves Tommi showed me on Saturday - and was pleased to find I got a much better workout than I have in several weeks.

I'm going back tomorrow night to get more info on the membership aspect. That's where I may back off a little. Yes, I do tend to get bored with the Curves machines pretty quickly these days, and yes, I do want access to a place with more and better equipment, not to mention better-trained personnel. However, as I understand it, It Figures doesn't have a month-to-month option, only the usual one-year contract.

I wouldn't mind if I knew it was something I'd use regularly over the year. However, since that's what I have now at Curves, it might be better to wait till that's up next April.

But - I wanna decide NOW! I'm so impatient! Hmm, maybe *that* should be my New Year's resolution, huh - getting more patient? After all, unless the economy REALLY tanks, I can afford two memberships. After all, I'm not spending as much money on other leisure activities. I used to do an awful lot of sitting around, watching TV, reading, knitting, and EATING.

I don't do that anymore - and I think it's a good sign that what I'm seriously considering here is not whether or not to give up working out completely (as I did the last time I quit Curves), but rather where I can go to work out even more!

Monday, December 1, 2008

And so this is Christmas (the first day of December, anyway!)

Happy day-after, everyone! Did we all survive the long Thanksgiving weekend? We did - just barely! Holidays are always a mixture of fun and frustration, aren't they? Perhaps I don't need to say any more.

Thanks go out to the California Cat Center (http://www.californiacatcenter.com/) which not only took great care of our little Princess but even made a YouTube video about here! Check it out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSnMQLzMeDY&feature=email)!

As for my weight - well, for the first time since April, I didn't go to a Weight Watchers meeting OR to Curves, all week! Yet, strangely enough, I managed to stick to a reasonable program of eating and exercise, and according to my official Weight Watchers scale at home, my weight this morning was 196.

Since the home scale tends to be about one pound higher than the one at the meeting, I'm going to say that's 195, which means I gained a little over half a pound. However, when you consider that it was THANKSGIVING - and that I pretty much dug in and ate all I wanted that day - it's pretty amazing that I ONLY gained half a pound, eh?

Plus, the hotel where my husband and I stayed (the La Quinta Inn, in Phoenix http://www.lq.com/lq/properties/propertyProfile.do?ident=LQ704&propId=704) had a fitness center (actually, a little room with two treadmills, an elliptical and a stationary bike), and we actually used the treadmills every day we were there. Apparently we were the only ones who did! Which was fine with me - we had it pretty much all to ourselves.

I haven't used a treadmill for a long time but I think my walking almost every day is starting to pay off - I was able to go 30 minutes at 3.0 miles per hour without gasping for breath - even ran a little. I liked that!

This morning I was going to go back to Curves but it was cold and I wimped out and decided to have a nice hot breakfast instead. Might go on my lunch hour. But to be honest, I'm kind of at a crossroads about Curves. I really like being able to exercise in a way that doesn't require me to change clothes (i.e., walking)! Well, we'll see - maybe by the time 12:55 rolls around I'll be ready.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My husband and I are traveling to Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. And since I just lost 1.4 pounds (down to 194.6), I thought I’d take a break from the weight-loss stuff to talk a little bit about my religious beliefs.

Actually, there’s a connection between the two. I don’t remember who said it – perhaps Lewis or Chesterton – but the ideal behind having a Christian society is to “make it easy to be good”. In other words, because we’re all prone to sin as the sparks fly upward (and I know who said THAT!), we should do the best we can to remove “occasions of sin” from our lives.

For example, if you have a serious problem with Internet porn addiction, it might be a good idea to remove your computer from your life altogether – or at the very least, install some porn-blocking software and give the password to someone else. If you have a drug problem, throw out all the pills from your medicine cabinet and insist that others lock theirs up when they come to visit.

And if you have an overeating problem – well, you’ve probably already figured that one out, right? But it’s not enough just to remove all the bad stuff from your life – you have to replace them with GOOD stuff. So if you’re addicted to the sensuality of porn, get re-addicted to the sensuality of the Mass or the Divine Liturgy. If you’re addicted to pills or food, get addicted to the Eucharist – daily, if at all possible. Etc.

Well, that’s also what I’ve been learning from Weight Watchers: not only should you remove all, or as much as you can, of the high-fat, high-calorie junk foods from your house, from your office, from your life – but you should then surround yourself with GOOD things to eat. So when you get the urge for a double mocha java, you have all the ingredients to make a healthier version of the same thing.

Another thing: some people insist they can be good (i.e., sinless) without all the “rules and regs” of an organized religion. Some people also insist they can lose weight without an organized weight-loss program like Weight Watchers. Well, let me know how that all works out for you. I know my weaknesses and my limitations. I need to be surrounded by rules and regulations, like that proverbial fence that G.K. Chesterton wrote about at the end of his little book, “Orthodoxy”. Only when I’m inside the safety of that fence do I feel truly free to spin around and enjoy my freedom.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just a minor setback - don't panic!

This is kind of ironic, but you know how last week I lost 3 pounds? Well, when I posted it to the Weight Tracker on Weight Watchers’ online site, I got a prissy little message: "Danger, Will Robinson! You're losing too much, too fast! Slow down or suffer dire consequences!"

Because, see, Weight Watchers doesn't want you to lose more than 2 pounds a week. Which is fine, and actually very safe 'n sane, since most reputable weight loss scientist types say the same thing. However, WW's online tracking computer doesn't seem to grasp the concept of "average" (as in, don't lose more than an average of 2 pounds a week). They also don't 'splain to you how to program your body's computer to stick to that exact schedule. So if are lucky enough to lose, say, 2.1 pounds in a week, the alarms go off and the authorities are notified.

Fear not, little Weight Tracker! Calm down - all is well! You'll be happy to hear that this week I regained 2.4 pounds of that humungous loss. So chill out! Have a beer!

Or perhaps a hamburger. Since it was probably the hamburger – and the hot dog – and the red and green M&M's – and the cotton candy – and the potato salad, all served with love by my company’s HR department to honor those of us in Office Services – which were responsible for this teensy little gain. In my defense, it was a lunch meeting and there were no low-fat alternatives at all! Well, except the cotton candy, which didn’t have any fat – just lots 'n lots of sugar. (Mmm ... sugar!)

However, I’m not too upset. This is going to happen from time to time, but since I’ve established some good, healthy habits – for example, walking every day for at least half an hour; going to Curves at least two times a week (didn’t go on Friday as I had the day off, and after my adventure with Curves Van Nuys, if I can’t go to Bunker Hill I’ll just do something else); bring my own food – meals and snacks – to work with me so I won’t be tempted beyond my endurance*; etc.

And I just bought some fun exercise equipment for use at home, which means I can work out any time of day or night – even when I’m barefoot ... or naked! Howdy, neighbors! (nyuk nyuk!)

One thing I bought is the Urban Rebounder – a mini-trampoline with a stabilizer bar so I don’t fall off onto the concrete. I love it! I can just get on and bounce any ol’ time and it actually provides more of a workout than you’d think while you’re on it – you definitely feel it a few minutes after you stop. I was actually out of breath after only about 10 minutes! (And no, I was not naked at the time, Mr. Snoopypants!)

Also got a Tony Little Gazelle (similar to an Air Walker). Haven’t put it together yet so I can’t review it; however, will try to do that by next time.

Another thing I’ll try to do next time is put in something about church and Catholic stuff – seems only right, as I am, after all, the Curvy Catholic and not the Curvy Rastafarian!

(*well, except for last week. But I’m hoping that was the proverbial exception-proving-the-rule!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nancy Drew Finds The Mysterious Staircase!

Wow, loyal followers! Not only did I lose THREE POUNDS this week (weigh-in 193.4), but I FINALLY got that photo of the Mysterious Staircase of Bunker Hill developed.

And seriously - I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill, but for some reason this fascinates me. I'm really into the history of Bunker Hill (the one in Los Angeles, in case you're just joining us), and can't help wondering - first of all, is this indeed the same staircase I found in the LA Public Library's database?

(cropped version here shows the staircase to the left of the "PARKING" sign)

The best evidence for it being the same staircase is: it's in approximately the same position (perpendicular to the newer Bunker Hill Steps, same distance from the Central Library).

If it is the same staircase, it's only the top half, as the original goes all the way to the ground and this one is cut off by the ground floor of the parking garage.

The best evidence against it being the same staircase? Just a gut feeling - if they went to all the trouble of ripping up all those buildings and digging huge holes for the new skyscrapers, why would they leave just this one staircase? So it may have been built later, then abandoned when the Bunker Hill Steps were completed.

But then ... why cover it up with dirt? Why not just keep it as an alternate route to the Hill?

No - I really think it's the same one. And if I'm right (which I almost always am, except when I'm wrong - nyuk nyuk!), then all I can say is an awed, Bart-Simpson-in-3D-style, "Coooooolllll, mannnnnnn" ...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Procrastination, thy name is Curvy Catholic!

Weighed in pretty much the same as last week - 196.2.

Haven't yet got those great photos of the Mystery Staircase developed yet. I intended to do that over the weekend but other things kept intruding - for example, our annual Parish Luncheon at St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Sherman Oaks, California.

Annual - and probably LAST! Not because it doesn't make a respectable amount of money, but because it's a whole lotta work - and those of us who do the work don't really want to have to do it again if we can avoid it! (I'm sure my husband, the Designated Dishwasher, heartily agrees!)

Plus, being in a somewhat depressed state on Saturday morning anyway (due to a really annoying conference with my supervisor and our two HR people on Wednesday, which, as I predicted to the HR person who's friendly to me, turned out to be a referendum on MY job performance, not HER rudeness to me which CAUSES me to sometimes have problems doing my job), I really didn't have the patience I needed to deal with the unusually rude babushkas who showed up at my "religious goods" table to criticize everything I was selling, gripe that MY prices were way too high, and scream that the prices I was charging for THEIR "heirlooms" were too low!

Augh! If I ever get to be that crabby, I hope someone will shoot me. Of course, I AM sometimes that crabby and no one has yet, so maybe I'm safe (nyuk nyuk!).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Curvy Catholic and the Mysterious Staircase!

Weigh-in first - down 0.6 pounds to 196.4.

Though I don't have a digital camera (yet - Christmas is coming!), I snagged one of those disposable Fujis at Ralphs the other day, and yesterday walked over and took several photos of the Mystery Staircase.

Actually, I think I have figured out what it is. According to this photo (from the L.A. Public Library's WAY cool photo database!), there used to be a parking lot at 5th and Flower. Look towards the bottom left, then up to the left of the sign that says "Parking" - see it? That staircase going uphill from the back of the parking lot?

Well, I think that's the one I found - at least, part of it! It's in a sort of alleyway between two buildings - the 444 S Flower Building and the parking lot underneath the Stuart Ketchum Downtown YMCA. It's almost completely covered with dirt and unused.

Actually, that's not quite true. I noticed a lot of beer cans and cigarettes scattered around, so it obviously IS being used - by people I probably wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley! So if I need to take any more photos, I'll make sure I'm not alone!

Oh, as for my depression? It seems to have lifted, at least somewhat. The exercise helped. Last Tuesday, it was so bad I spontaneously decided to take the rest of the week off. And you know what? That was the best decision I could have made! I stayed home, but I didn't just sit around on the couch eating bon-bons and watching soaps. No way, Jose - I WORKED!

Yes - I worked in our back yard, went to the Green Thumb Nursery, got some plants, chopped down a pesky bush and an annoying little tree, puttered around the house and just generally had a fine "housewifey" time. And yes, it was a little depressing coming back here to work yesterday, but not nearly as much as I'd feared it would be.

Now tomorrow may be another story. I've finally got my long-awaited meeting with my former boss, my current boss, and the HR person. Not something I'm looking forward to but I'll just have to wade through the muck as best I can.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Up two; down ... just a little

Regained a couple of pounds from that spectacular loss last week - but still weighed in at 197.0 which is great, considering where I started. I'm very upbeat about the fact that I seem to have broken through that 201/202 plateau at last!

I'm also pretty sure the huge weight loss last week had to do with the fact that I've been moping around with a bad cold (bronchitis?) for about three weeks now. It's getting better, but what with that, and my tendency towards SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), not to mention my ongoing dislike for a certain person in my office who I'm bound to work with till one of us quits or wins the lottery - well, truth be told, I'm feeling kind of down these days.

Mondays are the worst. I know, the Garfield cliche. But really, this morning I just felt so awful. I went for a walk at lunchtime and perked up a bit when I discovered what appears to be a HUGE abandoned staircase, just a few steps from the relatively new Bunker Hill Steps. I stumbled across it (figuratively!) while looking for a shortcut back up to Hope Street.

It amazed me - it's covered with dirt and my speculation is that it was abandoned once the Bunker Hill Steps were opened. Yet it's still there, and makes me wonder what else is still around us of the old infrastructure, just a few feet under the dirt. (If I get a chance to go there again with a camera, or find anything about it on the Net, I'll post it next week.)

So that cheered me up a bit. But then I had to come back to work. Ugh.

I guess what really depresses me is that we're playing all these games, trying really hard not to talk to each other. If you've got someone like that in your office you know what I mean. It gets to a point where you wonder which one of you is going to fold first. And I'm not that good at cards.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

At Long Last Loss!!!

OK, ready for the BIG NEWS of the week?

No - not about how much I lost in the stock market.

No - not about how my (ex) boss was so snotty to me that the stress got to me and made me ACTUALLY snotty (i.e., as in getting a cold).

And no, not about how "Desk Girl" from Curves Van Nuys apparently read my blog entry from last week, and called "Desk Girl" at Curves Bunker Hill to complain about my heretical 1-minute workout ways (to which D.G. C.B.H. replied with a polite but appropriate "phbbbbhhh").

Nope, the BIG NEWS of the week is - I LOST SIX POUNDS!!!

That's right, campers and loyal followers! I've finally dumped that six-week plateau and am now down to 195 - the FIRST time I've been below 200 pounds in AT LEAST 10 years!!! My total official weight loss since I started in April is - 29.4 pounds!

Hurray for me! And big "thank yous" to:

1. Flora and Christy and all the gang at at Weight Watchers - Sherman Oaks;
2. Curves Bunker Hill, especially owner Mickey, who understands that not every round exerciser can fit into the same square hole; and
3. last but not least, my sweet hubby Steve, for his excellent cooking and loving support!

This is a (relatively) short entry because I'm still feeling the effects of that cold. Thanks a bunch, THERESA ]:-( .

More next week, I promise!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

If you can't say anything nice ... say it on your blog!

First - weigh-in today was 201.8. That's where I've been for the past 5 or 6 weeks now, so it looks like I am in one of those much-ballyhooed plateaus. That's OK, though - it could be worse! And I'm pleased that I seem to be able to maintain what is, after all, a loss of 10% of my weight over six months. That's something to celebrate!

Second - last Wednesday I decided to stay home from work because my sweet hubby was sick (bronchitis, ick) and I wanted to hang around and take care of him. However, I decided, and he agreed, that I should try to do my Curves workout anyway.

Since I wasn't about to go all the way downtown to my own fabulous Bunker Hill Curves, I remembered there is one in Van Nuys, right next door to Four and Twenty, a restaurant where we often go for breakfast on Saturday mornings. I phoned to make sure it would be OK for me to come in, even though I hadn't had enough advance notice to get a travel pass, and the nice-sounding lady on the phone said sure, come on over! So I did.

At first everything was fine. There were only a couple of other ladies in there working out, and everyone seemed pretty relaxed. As I always do at my own Curves, I let the two other ladies know that I was doing one minute at each station, rather than the regulation 30. They seemed a little surprised (which should have tipped me off), but friendly and interested, so I didn't worry too much about it.

Now here's the thing - when I work out at my own Curves, I prefer not to engage in chit-chat with others. And that's the way most of the other early birds at my Downtown location feel. We're all getting ready for a busy work day and this is the last "me time" we'll have for several hours. So it's understood - you don't talk to others unless you know them, and you know they don't mind.

This place, unfortunately, wasn't like that. The chatter was nonstop. I wouldn't have minded so much, except I was having a LOT of trouble hearing the recorded voice that says, every 30 seconds, "Change stations now". So I probably wound up doing more than one minute at a couple of the stations.

But even that would have been OK, except for what happened when a group of about 3 or 4 additional ladies joined us and started working out. Again, when one lady plopped herself on a machine fairly close to me, I let her know that I was doing (or at least TRYING to do!) one minute. Like the others, she too seemed surprised - but this time, not in a friendly way.

"You know," she snarked, "it really doesn't make any difference if you work on the machines a minute, instead of 30 seconds."

"Yes, I know," I replied. "It's just the way that works best for me."

"So you're just stuck in your ways," she responded bitchily. (Yes - I'm a Catholic and I'm saying "bitchily"! We French-Irish-German-Fox Indian Catholics are a feisty bunch!)

I didn't really know how to respond to that, so I just smiled, said "Yeah", and at the next possible opportunity, moved across the room to an area which was less bitch-intensive.

And as if one of the members hadn't done enough to make a visitor feel unwelcome, the heretofore-nice lady at the front desk decided to get into the act. "Christine," she called, beckoning to me.

Now keep in mind - I WAS STILL DOING MY WORKOUT at this point! But I thought perhaps something was wrong with the paperwork I'd filled out upon arrival, so I stopped and went over. And to my humiliation, she proceeded to tell me that the snarky lady who'd just bitched off to me was a former instructor there (and apparently still held some position of influence). Unless there was no one else around, 30 seconds at each station was mandatory at this Curves. And the kicker was - not only should I not do my workout that way in front of the others, but - in these United States of America, where freedom of speech is guaranteed by our Constitution -


That's right - I had apparently committed a major faux pax by letting the other women there know that other Curves locations allow their members to spend more than 30 seconds at each station!!! The audacity!!!

Well, I was actually in tears at this point, but determined not to let them see me break down and cry. Plus - I REALLY WANTED TO FINISH MY WORKOUT! I only had about 10 minutes left to go anyway (not counting the time I'd been called to the principal's office). So I swallowed my tears and, I am proud to say, finished my workout and CONTINUING to do 1 minute at each station. God bless America!

But my Gethsemane wasn't quite over yet. I was grabbing my bag and water bottle out of the cubbyhole, ready to beat a hasty retreat, when Desk Lady approached me again. This time she was pushing a sheaf of photocopied pages towards me - from what I could see, they were pages from Gary Heavin's book describing the basic Curves program.

One sentence had actually been highlighted in yellow - and as soon as I saw it, I realized I was in the presence of an actual Fitness Fundamentalist. That sentence advised me that the optimal workout time on the Curves machines was 30 seconds. Apparently, "optimal" to the good folks at Curves Van Nuys has been redefined as "mandatory"!

I resisted her efforts to make me actually put my hands on this propaganda piece and take it with me. She withdrew it, but then tried to tell me that they also had a copy of the Curves stretch chart (because of course, us benighted denizens of Bunker Hill had probably not seen that either). Thanks but no thanks.

Still ready to cry, but determined to make sure they knew they weren't dealing with some Downtown homeless lady who'd just stumbled in from Skid Row, I choked out, "Goodbye - and be sure and check out my blog, 'The Curvy Catholic'!"

Then I went out to my car, bawled my head off for about five minutes, dried my eyes, and went into Four and Twenty for a good breakfast. I was going to write about this incident immediately upon returning home, but decided to wait. See, I'm a Catholic, so I really wanted to see if I could think of at least one nice thing to say about them.

And I have! Here goes: Thanks, Curves of Van Nuys - you really made me appreciate Curves of Bunker Hill!

Oh, and P.S. - if you're in the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks area, and are looking for a place to work out, check out a great place called It Figures!

Like Curves, they promote a 30-minute circuit training workout (30 seconds or 1 minute at each station) - but unlike Curves, they have cardio and weight training classes.

And their highly skilled personal trainers would definitely not try to force you to work out in a way that doesn't work for you. Check them out - and tell 'em the Curvy Catholic sent ya!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Curves and Weight Watchers, Part II - the long-awaited Weight Watchers update!

First of all, thanks to the cellarer for commenting on my last post - wow! someone other than me and my husband is reading my blog! I feel like a real blogger now! (hee hee!)

Second, this week's weigh-in - back to 201.6. I seem to have been gaining and losing the same pound for the past several weeks, but that's OK - sure beats the alternative of gaining multiple pounds over the same period of time, which I am pretty sure is what would be happening had I not changed my eating and exercise habits last April.

Which brings us (finally!) to - the Weight Watchers review!

The first thing to understand is that Weight Watchers, like Curves, is a commercial organization. That is, it exists primarily to make money. Which is just fine - as an American and a supporter of the free market system, I have no problem with that.

However, it's important to understand because, as with Curves, there are good things and bad things about it, and if you're paying money into a weight-loss organization, you should feel perfectly free - no matter how much pressure the nice ladies at the weigh-in desk put on you - to resist doing the things you don't feel comfortable about.

For example, there are all sorts of THINGS for sale at Weight Watchers. Not only food (mainly snacks - my favorites are the Cheddar Twists, 2 POINTS a bag!, and the Oatmeal, also 2 POINTS each), but also Gadgets Galore!

Special measuring spoons (because the ones you have at home aren't quite as shiny?), special walking kits (because putting on your grungie tennies and slogging around the block on your own doesn't really count unless you're wearing a Weight Watchers pedometer) - oh, and those Weight Watchers pedometers? I must confess I bought one, but the awkward thing is I couldn't see it out of the box till I paid for it, and once I saw it, I realized that I never would have bought it if I had seen it.

It's shaped like a miniature (but not really that miniature!) alarm clock and you're somehow supposed to wear it next to your hip while you're walking. Shurrrr - and I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale, if you're interested!

And it's not cheap either - I can't remember the exact amount but it was over twenty bucks, I can tell you that! I did use it a couple of times but got tired of the bruise it left on my hip.

Now - enough complaining! I am one of those people you can always count on to find something wrong. But I'm also one of those incredibly annoying people who can always find something right (think "Pollyanna"). Anyway, the good things about Weight Watchers are (in no particular order):

1. Choice of plans - either "Flex" (where you eat anything you want as long as it adds up to the proper amount of "POINTS" each day - "POINTS" being a mathematical calculation involving calories, fat and fiber) or "Core" (where you can only eat foods on the approved list, but as many of them as you like, and they're all very healthy and good for you).

2. Almost endless variety of food you can incorporate into your plan. Even if you're "Core", you get 35 extra "POINTS" each week to use as you wish, so if you want to go out & share a bowl of Fettucine Alfredo with your sweetie on Saturday night, you can.

3. Emphasis on good nutrition and exercise. This is admirable, and not all of the big weight loss plans are as scrupulous about providing you with good information about the benefits of veggies, lean meats, etc., as well as encouraging you to GET UP OFF YOUR FAT BEHIND once in a while!

4. Weekly Meeting/Weigh-In - I think that's the most important and VITAL part of this whole Weight Watchers thing. I mean, sure, you can try to do it by yourself - maybe even join "Weight Watchers Online" - but the downside is that there's no one else around to applaud your successes and commiserate with your failures. And you definitely get that aspect when you go to the live, in-person meetings, and weigh in with an actual, physical, live person every week. It's my opinion that the weigh-ins keep you honest and make it easier to stay on the program.

For example, in my not-too-distant past, I would look forward to getting home after work and pigging out. (Melted cheese makes EVERYTHING taste better!) But now, the only day I let myself get *close* to pigging out is Saturday - AFTER my morning weigh-in! And even then I try to keep it within reason.

Because I keep thinking, "I have to weigh in again in less than 7 days - how will these deep-fried onion rings smothered in sharp Canadian cheddar affect me?" And since the answer is pretty obvious, I either do without the high-fat snack or make something similar but healthier (Hungry Girl is a big help in this sort of thing!).

So overall, in spite of any nitpicky little problems I might have with it, Weight Watchers (in harmony with Curves) has been working for me! And if you're savvy enough to do your own research and figure out what you can/can't live with, it could work for you too. Give it a shot! (Another nice thing about WW - you can pay month to month!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

We interrupt these reviews of major weight loss programs to announce …

that the Curvy Catholic has decided to remain Catholic!

I know, only about 3 people read this blog so who cares, right? But just in case any of those 3 people were in suspense, here’s the deal:

For several months now I have been reading and absorbing everything I could find about Eastern Orthodoxy. There is much of substance and beauty there.

Unfortunately, there’s also a whole heck of a lot of confusion, in this humble Westerner’s opinion. The more I read, the harder it is for me to figure out just who separated from who in the Great Schism.

The Romans say the East left; the East says Rome left. But to me, and I suspect to a lot of other people who aren’t 100% committed to either side – it looks like they left each other.

Frankly, I think the Great Schism was nothing more or less than an unusually nasty and messy divorce. There was fault on both sides.

I know, I know … the Crusades, the Filioque, etc. … Believe me, I sympathize with the passionate feelings of the Orthodox who, even today, still carry the bitterness of their ancestors towards Rome. And I agree with them – the Popes and Bishops of that time were not exactly John Paul the Great.

But there’s nothing I can find anywhere in the Bible that says you automatically stop sinning once you start following Christ. Just because members of the Catholic Church acted like total stinkers from time to time doesn’t mean the Catholic Church has no claim to be the True Church of Christ.

(Oh, and to the Catholics who fling charges of “caesaropapism” at the Orthodox, that works both ways.)

John Paul II, a great Pope who I admired very much (and who died on the exact same day that my wonderful little cat “Princess” was born … but I digress), loved the Orthodox Church and believed it was our “Sister Church”. I know most of the Orthodox (at least the ones who regularly post at online forums) chafe at that description, but I think it’s true. So the idea of leaving Catholicism for Orthodoxy was an attractive idea.

For one thing, I’ve been attending the Byzantine Catholic church for several years now (it’s where I met and married my wonderful husband). It’s where I learned to love and appreciate the way of Eastern Christianity. So that’s why I was attracted to the idea of “going all the way” to Eastern Orthodoxy.

But you know what? Last Sunday I took a little holiday from my beloved B.C. parish and revisited St. Casimir’s, a Lithuanian Catholic church in Silverlake, California. I used to go there regularly on Saturday mornings and always loved it, not only because it’s beautiful but because the priests who run it refused to let Cardinal Roger Mahoney (God grant him many years) bully them into discarding their Communion rail. Yes – you can still kneel to receive the Eucharist there! As far as I know there are only a handful – if that many – of churches in the Los Angeles Archdiocese where that’s the case.

So anyway, last Sunday I went there for 8:00 A.M. Mass. And was struck anew by the beauty, reverence and, above all, SILENCE in that Mass. Not a forced silence, as is sometimes the case in churches attempting to be “modern”, where they just stop talking right after the Homily, as though the priest’s words are so brilliant that the unwashed masses must sit quietly in order to take it in. But a real, genuine, peaceful and completely natural silence.

That silence was there all the way through the Mass, behind the quiet murmurs of the priest and the people. I could hear birds chirping outside; cars going busily to and fro in the distance (what I called, as a child, the “Traffic River”); and all the sounds of civilization, just far enough away to remind us that the “real world was out there, but not close enough to hinder us from recognizing Reality itself, there on the altar.

And after this Mass was over, I returned to St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Sherman Oaks, California, where I helped my husband cantor at the 10:15 Divine Liturgy. And it was a beautiful Liturgy, and I felt completely at home there.

I am so blessed to have more than one church where I can feel “at home” – and both those churches are, as the expression goes, “in communion with Rome”. So it occurred to me that my summer-long research and speculation about “doxing” had come to an end. Because, like Dorothy at the end of “The Wizard of Oz”, I realized that I already had everything I wanted, right here in my own backyard. I didn’t need to go “over the rainbow” to find it – or rather, to find Him. Because He’s already here, on the altar of the churches I already know.

So, long story short, the Curvy Catholic is still curvy – and still Catholic!

Back to weight-loss issues (and my promised review and update of Weight Watchers) after the weekend!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Curves and Weight Watchers updates - Part I

Well, I'm up again, by 1.2 pounds (weight: 202.2) but am not too worried about it. That does seem to be my pattern - down 2 pounds one week and up 1 the next. So next week should be better.

And anyway - you know what? Even if I stay at this weight and never get down any lower - that's OK! Because I know that I'm doing all the right things now. I'm developing good exercise and eating habits, which are vast improvements over how I used to eat and move (or rather NOT move!) in the past.

Now as promised, here's some stuff about Curves and Weight Watchers: First of all, I'm continuing to do both, and I think that works out pretty well. Three Curves workouts a week - Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - and a Weight Watchers weigh-in and meeting on Saturday.

I know I bitched a lot about both the Curves and the Weight Watchers people when I first started this blog, and there are still a few problems with both. But I've learned something: you get out of them what you put into them. There's NO perfect weight loss/exercise program - you have to decide what you want to do and then do it!

My problem with Curves was with one particular person who I felt was pushing me a quick weight-loss program that I didn't want to do. Well - all I had to do was say "no", which I did. And I still see her, Mondays and Wednesdays anyway. She's really a very nice lady - just didn't understand what my personal situation was. I go there early in the morning now, do my workout, wave goodbye to her and leave. Nice and simple.

(Oh, and in case anyone cares - for my workout, I do one minute at each station once around, rather than 30 seconds and twice around. I prefer not having to use any of the machines more than once. But that's just me - other people prefer the 30 seconds, so if someone else is there doing 30 seconds, I just smile and get out of their way!)

The nice thing about the 3 Curves workouts a week is - they're not my only workout. I do long walks on the alternate days. But I know that I need to stick to the discpline of Curves 3 times a week - the walking, or any other form of exercise I do on the other days, is "extra". And it's neat because I'm finding that thanks to the workouts, I seem to have more strength and endurance for the other things I want to do!

Next week I'll go into detail about Weight Watchers, and tell you why I love it - and how to get the most out of it!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad taste alert!

I'm sure it wasn't intended as a really bad-taste joke at the expense of the hapless train conductor involved in Friday's horrific Metrolink accident in Chatsworth, California.

However, it sure came out that way.

One of my coworkers is in the habit of sending out a "thought of the day" every day. I gather she gets them from our national office - and probably doesn't look at them too closely.

Well, today's thought of the day was:

"It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."

Uh ... hmmm.

Isn't that kind of what the Metrolink conductor's being accused of - going slow but not stopping for that red light?

Unintentionally tacky, at best.

(And more seriously, if you want to help the victims, there's a whole lot of injured people who could use your blood, so if you have any to spare, why not call the Red Cross and set up an appointment today?)

(Oh, and I did lose weight this week - down to 201, which means I've pretty much lost all the weight I put on during my vacation. Curves and Weight Watchers are turning out to be a great combination! I'll write more in detail about both next week.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Downtown Goats!

(I know it's not my usual posting day - or reason - usually I only post a day or two after my weigh-in. But this is just SO cool I had to tell you about it!)

"Have you seen the goats?" has become the catchphrase of the week in downtown Los Angeles - Bunker Hill, to be specific.

Check out this link at the LA Times which explains it.

What's going on is that the city has hired 100 goats to clear the brush on Angel's Knoll, a small park next to the historic (but tragically and annoyingly closed) Angel's Flight Railway.

It's a wonderful sight to see as you're coming up the escalator from the subway at Fourth and Hill (always assuming the escalator is working!) - and here's a wonderful photo from Flickr taken by a user named eitheror:

What a great way to start - and end - an otherwise dull and ordinary workday! So here's my question: instead of building yet another office building downtown, how about creating a nature preserve? I for one would rather see a bunch of goats every morning than some of my coworkers (nyuk nyuk!).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Birthday Blast(s)!

Hey everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. As you weight-loss veterans may have suspected - yes, I did gain a little weight! Not much, though - Saturday I was up to 202.8, so only about a pound and a half. ("Only" - nyuk nyuk!)

And that's not the reason I didn't post. To be honest, I just forgot! See, last Tuesday was my 50th birthday -

[pause, wait for applause - whoops, sorry! Forgot I don't have a Teleprompter!]

Anyway, I went to Phoenix, Arizona for a couple of days to celebrate with my parents; and then came home and celebrated again with my wonderful husband.

And somewhere in there - I just forgot to post! Oh well, no worries - I'm back now! Like your worst nightmare! (hee hee!)

Re: the weight gain - I really don't feel bad about it at all. And I'm not surprised by it either. Remember a few weeks ago, when I said that I was cutting back on my CURVES workouts during August? Well, I'm convinced the weight gain is the direct result of that.

But now I'm back to work, back on my regular schedule, and back to my 3-times-a-week CURVES workouts. So I fully expect a loss at my next weigh-in!

Oh, speaking of losses - I'm kind of in mourning for our old "Thinner" brand scale. Actually, it's still in the house. However, my wonderful and thoughtful husband decided to buy a new scale - specifically the Weight Watchers scale.

And it's really nice! Very pretty and functional. However, I've gotten used to the old one weighing me in at about two pounds less than the official WW scale (you know, the special digital ones they use to weigh you in at meetings). The new one, however, weighs me in at least one pound HIGHER than that official weight! So I have to kind of psych myself up to accept the new numbers.

The positive side is that from now on, whatever I weigh at home before leaving for the meeting, I'll know that I won't weigh any MORE than that at the meeting! So maybe it'll work out OK after all!

P.S. Wonderful/thoughtful hubby also gave me a brand new Cuisinart programmable coffeemaker for my morning commute! There are still a couple of bugs to work out, but I did leave home today with a commuter mug full of hot, delicious coffee. Perfect for these bitter cold Southern California mornings!

THANKS AGAIN, sweetie! I love you!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So I weighed in at 201.4 yesterday, which means I have lost MORE THAN 10 PERCENT OF MY WEIGHT HURRAY FOR ME!!

I'm very proud of myself, although to be fair, it's my body that did most of the work. So hurray for my body! Thanks, body/buddy, and sorry about that bowling episode the other day.

See, I signed up to participate in this Bowl-A-Thon next Wednesday at work, so since I had some time off on Friday, and since I haven't actually bowled for at least ten years, I decided to go practice at a nearby alley. (Aptly named, since the one I went to kinda resembled an alley - dirty, trashy and kinda smelly.)

But I digress! Anyway, I bowled nonstop for a full hour and it felt really good - till about an hour after I got home, when my muscles started singing ("Ow-leluja - Ow-leluja!"). They're still sore, so I'm hoping I'll be able to bowl when I'm actually SUPPOSED to.

Though since my highest score, out of 5 games, was only 83, they might not care whether I do or not. I'll let you know how it went next week!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Up a little, but that's OK - just stay away from JC Penney's mirrors!

Oy vay! Well, I'm up a pound (204) from last week. But that's OK - it seems to be a pattern with me. I'll be down one week and then up a little the next. So next week should be pretty good. Mark my words!

I had a rather traumatic experience in the fitting room at JC Penney's the other day. Not sure what they do differently with their mirrors, but I'd like to believe they're buying them secondhand from carnivals. Because that's the only explanation for the appalling appearance of my upper thighs that would make me feel better.

See, I've read about the phenomenon of "loose skin" on people who've lost a lot of weight - but I wasn't prepared to actually see it - on myself! Not too good for one's self-esteem!

I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to make anyone lose their lunch. Let me just point out, in my defense, that I didn't get this same CLOSE-UP VIEW OF THE FAT at either Sears or Macy's - only at JCP. So if their mirror-buyer is reading this, here's a message for you:

PBPBHBHBHBHHHHH!!! Nerts to you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Monday morning ... but not too bad

I know, it's the biggest cliche in the world, right? "I hate Mondays!"

I really don't hate them all that much, though, especially today, since I'm taking the afternoon off work ALL WEEK LONG! Hurray!

So what am I going to do with all that free time, you ask? Well - not really that much. It takes me about an hour of commuting time to actually get home and by that time there's really not that many places I can go shopping, etc. without hitting the afternoon rush hour traffic which I took the time off to avoid.

Still - it's nice to know I'll only have to be here for a short time. Sort of like taking a realllyyy long lunch hour!

And since I am indulging myself during these last 3 weeks of August by taking a lot of short days, I've decided not to go to Curves on Monday-Wednesday-Friday as usual. Instead, I'm going to go on Tuesday & Thursday, then do something different on weekends. Like walking. Or perhaps half an hour on my "stationary bike" in the back yard.

I put the "quotes" around it because it's actually a real bike -- I bought it last year but was afraid to ride it because it was too high for me to stay balanced on. So there it sat in the garage, gathering dust and spiderwebs. When I went out one morning and saw the words "Some Pig" in one of the webs, I figured I'd better do something!

I found a neat device called a "bike trainer". It's basically a stand which attaches to the back wheel, holding it firmly in place. So you can ride it to your heart's content without actually moving an inch!

I set it up out back next to our Tuff Shed, where there's an electric outlet. I can put my ancient 13" TV/VCR combo with separate attached DVD player on a table in front of it, pop in a "Green Acres" or "Father Ted" DVD (or even "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", as I did yesterday), and pedal away! It's really a fun way to get in my every-other-day exercise.

Nothing against Curves, but as anyone who goes there regularly knows, once you get into the exercise habit, there does come a point where you want to do something different. So this is my "something different" - for now. In the fall, like the kids returning, grumbling, to school, I'll return, grumbling, to Curves 3 times a week.

(Oh, the weight loss thing? Down two more pounds, to 203!)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

From "Women" to "Misses" in four months!

Wow, everyone! Not only did I lose two pounds this week (weighed in at 205 today, yay for me!), but I also made what I consider a much more important breakthrough:

I found clothes that fit me in the MISSES section at Sears!

WOO HOO! No longer am I relegated to the [fill in your favorite euphemism for FAT] WOMEN's section of major department stores! I can actually fit into size 18 (skirts) and size "Large" (t-shirts), respectively!

I had a ball trying on all sorts of clothes the other day and thrilling to the fact that most of them actually fit - and walked out with two nice new skirts & tops.

And not ONE of them had an "X" anywhere on the size label!

Now, the cynic in me says, "Hey, it's Sears - their sizing is probably way more, shall we say, 'generous', than other stores." And I know that's true, and size is just a number, and it doesn't really matter what size you wear as long as it fits, looks good, and you're healthy.

But come on - SIZE 18! Woot woot! I've gotta crow about it a little bit! I've been shopping in the "plus sizes" for at least 20 years, y'all - so this is a major deal for me.

Yes, I'm definitely still a "BBW" (Big Beautiful Woman) - and that's fine, for now. But I'm actually beginning to believe it's possible that someday, maybe I can remove that first "B"!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Staying the same, in spite of cheesy delight!

Weighed in Saturday morning at 207 - same as last week. Which was actually a relief, given that I reverted to a pre-Weight Watchers snack - I'll give you the recipe in case you want to try it yourself:


1. Take a slice of your favorite cheddar cheese (in my case, Canadian Cheddar from Trader Joe's).

2. Cut it up into a few easily meltable pieces and put it in a microwavable bowl.

3. Add a couple of shakes of Parmesan cheese (a tablespoon or two works nicely).

4. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes (depending on your microwave).

5. Leave in the microwave for another couple of minutes to let it cool down.

6. Remove from microwave and enjoy!

I got the idea when I used to make casseroles and would have extra bits of burned cheese along the sides of the glass dish. I think you'll agree there's nothing better than the taste of really, really burned cheese on a glass dish!

Actually, this is not really a bad (i.e., high fat/caloric) snack. Parmesan cheese is @ 25 calories per tablespoon (1.5 grams fat) and you use more of that than the cheddar.

The main thing against it is it looks kind of gross to passing strangers; so it's really the kind of thing you eat when you know no one is looking.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is this your FINAL ANSWER?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Just got Your message this morning! Thanks for letting me know -- in no uncertain terms -- that I am absolutely, positively, NOT PREGNANT! (At least, not yet!)

So -- not meaning to pry -- but does this also mean that I am absolutely, positively, starting menopause and therefore will NEVER become pregnant? I'd kinda like to know for sure, because as I understand it, I'm not actually considered fully "menopaused" (if that's even a word) till I go 12 months without a period.

This time it was just two and a half months, which I realize might not seem all that long to You (what with a thousand years being like a day and all that good stuff), but was plenty long enough for me to start getting my hopes up, just a teeny bit!

So are there going to be more "uncertainties" like this for the next few years? Should I use my new Costco membership to stock up on home pregnancy tests? Just wondering!

Anyway, like I said, thanks for letting me know for sure so I can relax -- till next month, that is!

Lots of love from Your humble servant,

The Curvy Catholic :-)

(Oh yeah, and also, even though I'm a little disappointed not to be preggers, thanks VERY much for letting me weigh in at 207 pounds this morning -- a loss of 2 whole pounds since last week! That made me feel a lot better!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ups & downs, as usual!

Back up again on Saturday, but only by 0.8 pound - so I'm at 209.

Not too unexpected, given that I consumed almost an ENTIRE BOX of the Breyer's Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, which we'd bought for the 4th of July! (Sigh!)

Oh well, "ups" in my weight and "downs" at church - had a big dustup in the choir loft Sunday morning. I won't go into detail - let me just say this: "Musicians! Ptooey!" (And since I'm a musician too, I definitely include myself in that "ptooey"!)

And as for the other issue - no, still no visit from "Aunt Flo"! Curiouser and curiouser ...

Well, since I've already brought up "church stuff" I may as well bring up some more. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I've become interested in Eastern Orthodoxy. Saturday evening my husband took me to a local Antiochian Orthodox church for Vespers. To be honest, I didn't really care much for their style - almost everything was either spoken (rather than chanted) or chanted in a kind of Arabic "ululating" way that I couldn't follow.

I don't count that against the Orthodox, though; it's more of a personal opinion than a criticism. I've been to another Orthodox Church in the area which uses a more Russian style of chant - much closer to our Byzantine (Catholic) style - and I am very comfortable there. So I won't be making any decisions for/against Orthodoxy based on my aesthetic preferences.

But - I have been reading a LOT of books lately about Orthodoxy - mostly "pro" (apologetics). I agree with a lot of what they say: I definitely think the Roman Catholic church bears AT LEAST 50% responsibility for the "Great Schism". I definitely think the office of the papacy has been expanded far beyond what it was originally envisaged to be. I understand and agree with the problems with the "filioque" ("and the Son") in the Creed.

The only thing I'm not 100% in agreement with is the rejection of the doctrines of "Immaculate Conception" and "original sin"; and the idea that there can't ever be "development of doctrine" - I've read too much Newman (and Knox, and Chesterton, and Belloc!) to fall comfortably into line on that one.

So for the foreseeable future, I'll have to remain perched on that fence called "Eastern Catholicism", ready to jump to either side if necessary but willing to keep sittin' as long as I can.

P.S. - found this really good blog posting listing 10 Reasons to Become Byzantine Catholic - definitely worth reading!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Finally! and No, Not This Time!

First of all - FINALLY after 3 weeks I have started losing weight again!

I weighed in at 208.4 on Saturday morning, so I'm now officially (at Weight Watchers, anyway) down a total of 16 pounds.

Curves has me at approximately the same weight, though I'm happier about the fact that they're finally (again, finally!) showing that I've lost some inches too - approximately 1 inch of blubber removed from my frame overall! So watch where you step (nyuk nyuk!).

Also visited my doctor on Thursday and had a couple of tests done. And the answer to "am I pregnant?" is --

No, Not This Time!

That's based on the urinalysis, pretty much the same test you can buy at the drugstore. Interestingly, she also did a blood test for my FSG or something like that, and according to her email to me this morning, the answer to "So am I in menopause?" is --

No, Not Yet!

Hmmm! So what's going on here? No "visit from Aunt Flo" since the first week of May - yet I'm neither preggers nor permanently off the rag? What's the answer?






Monday, June 30, 2008

Holding at a steady pace

Last Friday's weigh-in was exactly the same - 210.8. Neither up nor down. So I guess I'm at one of those much-talked-about plateaus.

So I decided to just enjoy the weekend and go "off plan" - not drastically, just in the sense that I ate what I wanted and didn't keep track of the points.

Steve and I went to Carlsbad Saturday morning and stayed overnight. We visited with my parents, who were in from Phoenix hoping to see the beach (and cruelly disappointed by our hotel's promise of an "ocean view room" - yeah, great view if you had a periscope!).

But it was a nice weekend, marred only by our severly overindulgent worries about our cat, the aptly named "Princess", who we'd left all by herself for the WHOLE NIGHT!!! something she's never before experienced in her short but eventful life.

She seemed fine when we got home Sunday afternoon - a little annoyed but graciously allowing us to kneel at her paws and beg forgiveness. All hail the Princess!

Oh, as for last week's post - still no period! I haven't made a doctor's appointment yet, but I suppose I should. I kind of don't want to, though - a superstitious feeling that I'll "jinx it" somehow if I actually schedule a test. I'd like to enjoy that feeling of "maybe ... possibly ... perhaps!" a few days longer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Uh oh ... up again???

Oh noes (as they say on Cute Overload)- up another 0.8 pounds!

Not to worry, I think I have it figured out. Either:

1. I'm not drinking enough water, or

2. I'm pregnant.

..... whaaaaa????? .....

Re: #2 - don't panic! But it's possible in theory as I'm over a month late. However, that's happened before, and I'm at "that age" (49) where it could be the Big M. So I'm not too concerned - yet. Will keep you posted!

Just to get some Catholic stuff in my supposedly Catholic blog, my husband and I have been having an interesting discussion about the Roman Catholic church vs. the Eastern Orthodox. I've been reading some polemical discussions about E.O. on the Net and have become interested in the way Orthodoxy governs itself vs. the Papacy.

Steve, being in the Byzantine Catholic Church (aka Ruthenian Catholic, aka Greek Catholic, aka ... ) for most of his life, knows a lot more about the history and has been filling me in. I do love the Orthodox liturgical traditions and find their theology more compatible with my own personal beliefs.

Of course, I know that doesn't necessarily mean they're right - I have to do some more research and figure these things out for myself!

And I'm nowhere near being ready to convert to Orthodoxy ... for one thing, I'm a "cradle Catholic" and there's still a lot of good stuff in the Roman Catholic church. Also, in the Byzantine (Ruthenian/Greek/...) Catholic church we attend, I am learning to appreciate the Eastern traditions without having to make the gut-wrenching leap to the other side of the 1054 Divide.

So - lots of interesting things going on in my life this week, which is why an 0.8 pound weight gain is kinda low on my list of things to worry about!

Hmm ... think I'll get another glass of water ... ;-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What goes down must (occasionally) go up ...

Oopsie ... went UP by 0.8 pounds this week. Oh well, I think it's probably just a blip in the overall scheme of things. At least I hope so!

But given that I've established a fairly regular exercise program and streamlined my daily menu so it's no problem to stay within my POINTS range, I'm not too worried. (Of course, if it goes up NEXT week, and the NEXT week ... but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it!)

Speaking of exercise, I've been kinda sorta getting into biking. What I mean is that I'm charmed by the *idea* of biking, but haven't actually gotten too good at the actual *pedaling* and *balancing on two wheels* thingies that go with the idea!

I did buy a folding bike from Amazon - and managed to pinch off a chunk of the flesh on my thumb while closing the kickstand - YEOWWW!!

Then yesterday, I was testing an Electra Townie 3-speed with 26" wheels in the parking lot of a bike shop; and was doing great till I noticed I was heading right for a parked car. So instead of just hitting the car and taking my chances, I hit the brakes and tried to jump off the bike - landing directly on my left ankle, which really, really, REALLY hurt! Sniff!

Fortunately my husband was there with me, so he was able to drive me home. And it didn't deter me from wanting to get a bike. But (a) I think I'm going to hold out for 24" wheels and (b) I'm going to avoid any test drives - and perhaps walking in general! - for a few days, till I'm sure my ankle is OK.

Sigh. Could it be that the Bicycle Gods are trying to tell me something??

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Still goin'!

Down 0.6 pounds yesterday, so total loss since the beginning of April is 15.2 pounds - yay!

Now that summer is here and the weather is getting warmer, we've been spending more time outdoors. That means I'm less tempted by hot, cheesy foods and more tempted by cold, ice-cream-like foods! Fortunately I've discovered Weight Watchers makes these really good ice cream bars - I have two boxes in the fridge right now - one is latte flavored and the other chocolate fudge. Mmmm!! They're very good and only 2 points per bar.

I also like their little cups of ice cream. My absolute favorite is the chocolate chip cookie dough -- mmm! (Remember last week, when I told you about some of the "bad foods" I used to eat regularly? Well ... did I mention ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough? No? Well, consider it mentioned then.)

Another really good hot weather snack is Kozy Shack no-sugar-added puddings. My favorite is the tapioca. I tried the chocolate, but it had kind of a funny aftertaste - the only word I can think to describe it is "dental"!

Sorry, Kozy Shack, but that's what it reminds me of - the taste of the nitrous oxide that our dentists used to conk us out with back in the good old days. So no chocolate pudding for me - I don't need the nightmares!

I was rereading some of my old posts and realized it's more "Curvy" than "Catholic". Now I do have some Catholic-related opinions I'd like to share; but I need to think over just how much I want to reveal to my vast reading audience.

Let me meditate on this a little, till next week.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Bad" foods and a stunning weight loss result!

Hey, remember last week when I said I figured the big weight-losses were over and I'd start losing a half pound to a pound a week now?

Well, this morning I weighed in at WW and posted a loss of 4.6 pounds! Woo hoo!

This is why you should never take me seriously when I predict the future; I'm almost always wrong.

Anyway, as promised, here's just a few of the "bad" foods I've indulged in during my past, which made me the woman I am today (fat!):

1. Ramen noodles and popcorn - Doesn't sound too awful, does it? But those tiny little packages of Ramen noodles contain a whopping 16 grams of fat! (And of course I ate the whole package - how could I not? It always seemed ridiculous to me that they thought anyone would actually be able to share them.)

For a while, they made a baked version which was much lower in fat, and I bought those when I could find them. But I guess they didn't make enough obscene profit from them because they quit making them.

As for the popcorn, that's actually good for you and has lots of fiber - except when you cover it in butter and melted cheese.

For many years, Ramen noodles and "popcorn plus" were my regular evening meals, especially during winter months. In my defense, the Ramen noodles are CHEAP - check them out next time you go to any grocery store. You can get, like, 100 packages for a dollar! It's pretty tempting when you're on a limited budget.

Still, the fat did add up (and the melted butter and two kinds of melted cheese on the popcorn didn't help).

2. Parmesan cheese. You know those big green canisters of Kraft Parmesan cheese? A nice, light topping for your cheesy needs. I'm able to just sprinkle a little bit on my foods now with no problem.

However, for a long time I was going through not one, not two but THREE of those canisters in the space of a week. Not only was I pouring it on top of popcorn (see #1 above), I also just ate it straight out of the can. Quite filling.

3. Boxed macaroni & cheese. Mmmm good, and theoretically you could cook it & eat small portions of it over several days - right? Yeah RIGHT! Get this:

On a regular basis, I would buy TWO boxes of the stuff - cook the macaroni from only ONE package - and mix in the pouches of cheese from BOTH boxes!

Because ... see ... when prepared with just the one packet of cheese, it didn't taste cheesy enough.

And sometimes I would add some Parmesan (see #2) on top of THAT.

Mmmm ... good! But definitely NOT good for me!

Now - here's the big question: Did I *know* that all these things weren't good for me?

Well ... yes. I kind of did. But I had also gotten kind of mixed up in the way I thought about my health, and my weight. See, I was still trying to walk regularly, and I kidded myself that as long as I was exercising, I didn't have to worry about what I ate.

So here I am, almost 50 years old, finally finding the right answers, but more importantly, putting them into practice. And the answers are as old as the hills - "Eat right and exercise." There's really nothing else to it. But as the saying goes, "We are too soon old and too late smart!"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Half a pound, still going down!

Weighed in this morning 1/2 a pound lighter than last week, so I'm down a total of 10 pounds as of today. Yay!

I have a feeling the dramatic multi-pound weight losses are over as that's usually the water weight. Now the fat will start going and that will be much slower. Let's hope I can stay interested - I know from past experience that once the novelty wears off it gets more difficult.

Things I did today to keep going: bought some Weight Watchers ice cream & other low-fat frozen snacks to counteract the allure of the Breyer's Natural Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (100% natural ingredients!) currently calling to me from our freezer. I've found that it's easier to resist the "bad" * stuff if I have "good" * stuff that's similar in kind/taste.

(* I don't really ascribe moral values to food. Food is just food. The "bad" stuff may actually be very good for me under other circumstances. But when I'm trying to stay under 25 points a day, I need to be discriminating.)

(and if you want to know about some REALLY bad foods that I used to indulge in on a regular basis, stay tuned - I'm working on a post about them for next week!)

Oh, by the way, HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY to all the men and women of our Armed Forces! Thanks for making it possible for me to focus most of my attention on weight loss and diet foods, rather than dodging terrorist attacks.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another good Saturday morning!

I've been having a pretty good week (other than my boss -- or should I say "EX-boss who doesn't KNOW she's my ex-boss, or at least PRETENDS she doesn't know") -- being, well, bossy!).

I got Mickey, the franchise owner at my CURVES, to do my measurements on Friday. Everything looks really good - I'm down an average of one inch on all my vitals. CURVES shows me down 5 pounds but I don't really rely on their scales, which are the old-fashioned kind with the metal weights that slide from one end to the other. Frankly, those scales intimidate me - they have a "the doctor will see you now" vibe. I prefer the digital Post Office-quality scales at Weight Watchers -- much more accurate and you don't have to worry about which kind of thermometer they're using today. ;-)

Anyway, today I had my official weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in (say THAT three times fast!) and yay, I'm down another couple of pounds! Weight today, 214.8, which means I've lost 9.6 pounds since I started - yay!!!

See you next week! (Oh, by the way - L.A. Metro SUCKS - more next time!)

(P.S. I think our cat, Princess, has noticed I'm shrinking - she tried to help me by bringing me a nice, juicy nutritious sparrow last night. Dead, thank God. I appreciated the thought, my piercing screams and pleas to my husband to GET IT OUT OF HERE NOW!!! notwithstanding.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Hey, I'm doing GREAT! (At least in my humble (and undoubtedly biased) opinion!

Today's weigh-in shows me down a total of 7.2 pounds from my starting weight! Weigh to go, eh?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the WW meeting I wanted to go to this morning. My hubby is out of town, so I was in charge of cantoring for this morning's liturgy. It's what's called the 5th All Souls Saturday in the Byzantine Catholic Church - basically a liturgy for the departed. The priest reads the names of deceased members of all the families in the parish. It's actually kind of cool.

So this morning I just decided to get up super-early and went to the 7 a.m. meeting at the location I kinda sorta don't like that much. Fortunately the weird Aussie woman who insulted me wasn't the leader this morning, so it wasn't too bad.

Also, I knew our fellow cantor Kitt would want to go out to breakfast after liturgy. He hasn't been there on Saturday morning for a while, and enjoys going out to breakfast with us. I enjoy it too, so I didn't mind changing my plans a little. Next week maybe I can make it to the "good" location again.

It's been a good week, nutritionally, fitness-wise and personally! Nutritionally, I've kept well within my Points balances every day. Fitness-wise, I've continued exercising at CURVES three days a week (MWF). And personally - well, let's just say my husband is happy and so am I! ;-)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ready for a better week!

Well, last week I did a lot of bitching and moaning, both here in my blog and in various other forums. Mostly about how the Weight Watchers meetings I'd been to were unfriendly, and the Curves lady didn't know how to use a tape measure, and it's too hard to do this, and that, and the other thing.

I still think some of the things I complained about were valid criticisms. However, on Thursday morning, I went to my doctor and found out that I have SHINGLES! Which may well have made me more irritable than usual and, hence, more apt to bitch 'n moan.

Fortunately I seem to have dodged a bullet on the shingles - everyone I've mentioned them to shudders and says, "Eek, shingles! They're so painful!" But mine haven't been. They're on the left side of my neck, under my ear, and so far the worst pain has been comparable to a mild muscle ache. They do itch from time to time but I haven't felt compelled to scratch them, so they aren't spreading.

So thanks, God, for giving me a mild case of shingles - just enough to bring me back down to earth but not enough to ground me for good!

And after going to the doctor's on Thursday, I decided to hit a Weight Watchers meeting at a different location than the ones I'd been going to. And guess what - it was great! The leaders & weigh-in ladies were nice, and I even made a new friend (hi, Rita!).

The only down side was that my weigh-in showed a 3.2 pound GAIN! Eek! I rationalized it by saying that all my other weigh-ins had been on Saturday mornings, and this was a Thursday afternoon. Which may well have been the case. I'll know for sure next Saturday morning as I'll be going back to this location then - before breakfast!

As for CURVES, I've calmed down about the measuring thing and just decided to use them for exercise ONLY. I'll weigh in at Weight Watchers, and do my own tape measurements at home if I feel the need.

The main thing to keep in mind is - I am not doing this to please anyone at CURVES, or at Weight Watchers. I'm doing it for ME. And I'm not going to let anyone stop me this time!C

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Curvy Catholic Lashes Out At CURVES!


I'm a little irritated with the nice lady at the downtown L.A. CURVES which I joined at the same time I joined Weight Watchers.

This morning I asked her to do my measurements before I started my workout. My last measurements were done on the date I joined, April 8, 2008.

So get this - here's what she came up with:

Weight - 4/8: 223-1/2; 4/30: 222 - which is inaccurate compared with my WW weigh-ins, showing I started at 224.4 and have now lost over 4 pounds; but at least it shows a loss, right?

But then we get to this:

Bust - 4/8: 40-1/2; 4/30: 46-1/2

Come on!!! My bust has gone from 40-1/2 inches to 46-1/2 inches -- in less than 3 weeks??? And yet I've LOST weight? Give me a break!

And all my other measurements have gone UP at least an inch or more!! (I'd like to post all of them but for some reason I can't seem to create a table, or set up tabs, in this format - if I figure it out I'll post it later!).

Yet if it wasn't been for the wildly ridiculous bust measurement, I would have shrugged and said the usual mantra, "Oh well, muscle weighs more than fat," and just gone on with my life.

But - come on!!! There's no way my bust has increased 6 inches in less than a month! I would have noticed that (and my husband would DEFINITELY have noticed that - nyuk nyuk!).

I told her that, and she kind of agreed, but then she said, "Oh, I can tell you're really disappointed - let me give you some tips on how to make your weight loss go faster!"

I told her I'm in Weight Watchers and I don't *want* my weight loss to go any faster - 3 pounds in less than a month is just fine, thank you, and I'm very satisfied with what I'm doing; I just want CURVES to do my measurements with a little more consistency so I can add that information into the mix!

But she still kept trying to make it seem like *I* had done something wrong!

I posted a thread at the Weight Watchers Forums with basically this same information and will check it with interest to see if anyone has any suggestions.

I am steaming - and not just from the workout! But maybe that'll help burn off some more calories - nyuk nyuk!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another weigh-in and some Catholic stuff

Good news, not great but good - yesterday (Saturday) I had another weigh-in and lost 0.6 pounds. Hurray for me!

The only problem is I got spoiled by the first 3.6 pound loss. I know it's better for it to come off slowly, but I'm so impatient! Oh well, more good news is that it didn't deter me from my path. I'm still going to stick with my efforts.

And now for some Catholic stuff. If you haven't read my previous blog, let me just explain to you that I'm Roman Catholic, but I married a Byzantine Catholic. Byzantine Catholics are similar to Eastern Orthodox, except that they're in union with the Pope and the Orthodox are not.

Interestingly enough, there is quite a lot of what I call "underground ecumenism" going on between our local Byzantine Catholic parish and an Eastern Orthodox parish a few miles away - mainly because of a rift back in the previous century wherein one of the larger families left the Catholic Church and joined the Orthodox. However, some of them stayed put with the Pope, and as tensions eased over the years, they began going back and forth between the two parishes and encouraging others to do the same - among them my husband. I don't go as often as he does but I do appreciate their church; it's definitely an improvement over the guitar Masses and miniskirted altar ladies I grew up with.

And today I actually got to meet the new Bishop of the Byzantine Eparchy! ("Eparchy" is what Westerners would call "Diocese".) Not only met him but socialized with him! He's very nice. I've noticed that the Eastern bishops (both Catholic and Orthodox) are way more approachable than their Roman counterparts. I've only been in physical proximity to Cardinal Roger Mahony a few times and definitely not in a social context (not that I'd particularly want to socialize with him, these days!). It's an interesting contrast.

As I said above, my husband is Byzantine Catholic. I'm attending that church now full-time but haven't really felt compelled to switch rites. I still have a soft spot in my heart for St. Therese of Liseux, St. Theresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and a few others who to me embody the ideal of the Roman church. Despite all its problems today, I hold out hope for the renewal that is sure to come someday.

I do wish more Romans (or Latins, whatever you want to call them) knew about the Eastern Rites of their own church, though! It always amazes me to go to an R.C. parish and look through their hymnals, and see hymns from all sorts of traditions and cultures - Spanish, Vietnamese, Protestant, Jewish, secular - but absolutely NONE from the Eastern tradition! And there are some absolutely BEAUTIFUL hymns and chants in the Divine Liturgy! It seems strange to me, but perhaps there are reasons I'm not aware of (copyright??).

Getting back to weight loss (and incorporating Catholicism in the bargain, how's that?), we had a luncheon for the Bishop after this morning's Liturgy, and I was able to control my meal portions pretty well. But I did allow myself to indulge in a little cake and half a brownie. I do still have my 35 "extra" points for this week that I haven't used yet, so I'm not worried about it.

I really like the FLEX plan that Weight Watchers uses - I am allowed 25 points per day, which I normally have no problem at all staying within. One thing that has really made a big difference is that I now take my lunches & snacks to work with me - and I enter them in the POINTS tracker (on the WW website) at the beginning of the day. That way I know exactly what I'm going to eat during te day and am less tempted to go and gaze longingly at the vending machine!

And of course I'm also doing the Curves workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those are going well too. Though I do wish the Curves franchise owners would take a little time to instruct their coaches in being a little more "p.c." with us fat ladies - the nice lady who signed me up for my membership measured my thighs and said, very loudly, "WOW! It's a good thing you're doing this, you really need to get rid of some of this!"


Friday, April 25, 2008

Hi everyone! My name is Christine, and elsewhere on the Net I'm known as Stoogeswoman and Theistgal. But in this blog, I'm (wait for it):


“Curvy” is because I just recently (like two weeks ago) rejoined Curves for Women, the workout place closest to my office and easiest for me to get to. I also joined Weight Watchers for the first time ever. So this will be sort of a weight-loss blog, I guess.

I’ve been inspired and humbled by other weight-loss blogs, particularly “Dietgirl” (Shauna Reid) who has me awestruck with her tenacity and good humor. If I’m one-tenth as persistent – and entertaining – as she is, I’ll be quite happy.

“Catholic” because, well, I’m Catholic and proud of it! So from time to time I may throw in some stuff about my church and my religious life. If anything I say offends anyone – well, then you probably shouldn’t be anywhere near a computer! Besides, I seriously doubt a whole lot of people are going to read this right away, so I’m not terribly worried.

So let’s get to the weight loss stats, shall we?

Weight upon first joining Weight Watchers/Curves: 224.4
Weigh-In at WW on 4/17/08: 220.8
Net Loss So Far: 3.6 pounds!

Yay for me! I think I'm doing pretty well, don't you? So thanks for reading my first post, and I hereby make a commitment that I will post at least once a week and AT LEAST with my current weight stats if nothing more interesting.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!